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Samir, Leo a winning combo

Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates after scoring a late equaliser against Cape Town City on Saturday. The striker could start up front alongside Leonardo Castro, according to coach Ernst Middendorp.
Samir Nurkovic of Kaizer Chiefs celebrates after scoring a late equaliser against Cape Town City on Saturday. The striker could start up front alongside Leonardo Castro, according to coach Ernst Middendorp.
Image: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs mentor Ernst Middendorp has given an indication he may be tempted to field his strikers Leonardo Castro and Samir Nurkovic simultaneously going forward.

Castro and Nurkovic ended up rarely spearheading the Amakhosi attack at the same time in Chiefs' 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Cape Town City in the first round of the Telkom Knockout at Cape Town Stadium at the weekend.

While Castro had started the match, Nurkovic, who eventually cancelled out
Kermit Erasmus's goal to send the match into extra time, entered the fray later in the first half, replacing the injured Bernard Parker.

Daniel Cardoso missed a penalty four minutes before Erasmus broke the deadlock in the 34th minute.

The way the striking duo are performing lately is giving Middendorp a selection poser of sorts.

The Amakhosi coach has admitted it was difficult to choose who to start between Castro and Nurkovic, who, before Saturday's game, had missed Amakhosi's two matches because of a head injury.

"I said it before, Samir is an exceptional player. He was out for three weeks, not really able to use his heading ability. He used it for the first time [against City]. We said 'OK, you're not going to defend set-pieces, stay away, go to the corner'. It's early enough," said Middendorp.

"On the other side, Castro scored three goals in a fantastic 45 minutes last Saturday against Sundowns [in the Shell Helix Cup] and it's difficult [to separate them] at the moment.

"Why not [play them at the same time], why not?" said Middendorp.

The Glamour Boys' win in the Mother City came at a price, as Parker and their
influential midfielder Kearyn Baccus picked up injuries that forced them off in the first
period.

"Baccus has definitely an irritation on the inside of the knee ligament. Second, he definitely has an irritation on his ankle. We must wait, we can't really move. It'll be better to [say what the extent of the injury is] in the next two, three days," said Middendorp.

" I saw Bernard Parker had a crash going into each other [with the opponent], it's definitely something similar to [Baccus]. It's painful at the moment. Probably Monday, Tuesday we'll know a little bit more."

Middendorp will keep his fingers crossed that Baccus and Parker recover in time for their titanic league clash against champions Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld in Tshwane on Sunday (3.30pm).

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